News & Event

Message about 2020 Fall Semester Classes

To our students,

Message about 2020 Fall Semester Classes

September 1, 2020
Yuko Takana, President,
Hosei University

No one could have imagined the circumstances our students, and particularly our new students, experienced during the spring semester, and it pains me to think that you would have felt lonely during those days and weeks.

In relation to your online learning experiences in the spring semester, the University conducted a student questionnaire and we received responses from approximately 8,000 students. I have looked through them and would like to express my sincere gratitude to those who shared many valuable opinions. We intend to analyze the survey responses in more depth and incorporate your ideas and opinions into our future class management.

I would also like to thank everyone who submitted opinions in response to requests in my weekly Message to our Students that was published on the University website throughout the spring semester. Some of you said you would like to see online classes continue, while others explained how tough they found the days sitting at home in front of their computer. The compelling comments we received from students who wanted to meet and communicate with people and to learn on campus also resonated with me. Some of you urged us to create a system in which each student could choose for themselves whether to learn online or in the classroom. For me, your comments reconfirmed the actual role of a university, and I was reminded once again of how necessary it is to provide places where people can meet each other, exchange opinions, and learn from each other. Thank you all very much for your honest and sincere opinions.

Universities must continue to serve as places of learning in some form or other at all times. That is our mission. For this fall semester, I was very eager to reopen the University not just for online classes but for on-campus, in-person classes as well. However, as you know, from July we have witnessed a resurgence of novel coronavirus infections, not only in Tokyo but across the country, and this time the infections have been concentrated among young people. We were forced to close the in-person classes we had been holding in June. While it seemed the virus was gradually being brought under control in Tokyo and some other areas through August, we expect the adverse impact caused by a greater movement of people and more social gatherings during the summer holidays will start to surface from September onwards.

Therefore, based on an objective assessment of current circumstances, we decided to start the fall semester at restriction level 3, which means that classes will be held online as a rule, but a few classes, such as experiments and practical training, will be conducted face to face on campus while taking very careful measures to avoid closed spaces, crowds, and close contact. Looking ahead, we will carefully monitor the situation regarding any infections on campus and in the Tokyo metropolitan area in particular, and then, if the pandemic starts to abate across the broader society, we will seek to move down to a lower level of restriction at the earliest possible opportunity.

So that we can start offering as many in-person classes (with concurrent online options) as soon as possible, I have several requests for you all. We want to ensure students can attend classes, pursue various activities, and learn together with friends in a healthy and safe environment. It is possible to create such an environment if, instead of simply following the rules, we consider situations as responsible people who are clearly determined to prevent the spread of the virus. We will be able to move more swiftly to a lower restriction level if each and every one of us thinks carefully about our behavior both on and off the University campus including wearing masks, observing social distance, washing and sanitizing our hands, and avoiding eating in large groups. Please make a habit of being considerate at all times so that we can create as many opportunities for you to learn freely on campus as possible, as quickly as possible.

While we continue to offer online classes, we have only just started creating a true online learning environment. Many of our faculty members are inexperienced in this area and some parts of the system are immature. Some lecturers have been more ingenious with their instruction than others. Of course, some things just cannot be taught online. Conversely, over the past few months, I imagine many lecturers have discovered new things they can do precisely because they are teaching online. Many feel they are learning to do things differently than before. We will continue to take your comments and suggestions on board, but, at the same time, we need to mature and expand our combination of online, on-demand, and in-person teaching in a way that befits a university of the future.

This is a new challenge. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic settles down and we have reinstated our regular University routine, I think Hosei University will probably continue to actively pursue the online classes we experienced during the pandemic as one possible method of teaching. Our current experience is an attempt that paves the way toward such a future and is good training for us. I ask you all to view this as a positive development for our future and participate accordingly. Get involved in this new challenge into the internet world.

Universities have a duty to prioritize the health of their students, faculty and staff and prevent infection in broader society. However, our mission is also to create a rich and fruitful learning environment and to continue the pursuit of creative activities. It is a very difficult path to steer, but we aim to fulfill both of these roles in the fall semester. While we will continue to swiftly assess immediate conditions, we are extremely eager to combine online, on-demand and in-person classes and to work together to reach a stage where we can ease restrictions even a little. Students, please continue to make proactive suggestions and comments as valued members of our place of learning.

We intend to create new classes and new learning environments together with our students, because that is the kind of university we want to create. The fall semester will continue to be tough, but I very much hope you will keep in mind what Hosei University is aiming to do and approach the fall semester in that spirit.

One final note to all students: please be sure to check Plans for Holding Classes at Start of Fall Semester below that has been posted today together with this message.